Gardening: Year Five

I’m not exactly Jerry Baker when it comes to gardening. I tend to be a passive gardener, rather than one who waters daily and feeds periodically. I’ve killed more plants than I’ve successfully tended over the past five years as a homeowner.

I’m finally starting to realize that bulbs and rhizomes are definite winners for me, as I can pretty much “set it and forget it.” Three years ago, I planted some miniature daffodils that Sheryl gave me for my birthday, and they’ve survived, albeit weakly. Two years ago, I planted some daylilies from my co-worker, Scott, and they’re easily the strongest and healthiest plants in my yard. Finally, last fall, I planted a lily and a few bulbs (daffodils and tulips, I think) by the mailbox, and they seem to be sprouting up just fine.

I’ve tried my hand at supposedly “invasive” plants, too, like catnip. It’s supposed to spread and self-sow like a mofo, but it hasn’t, really. The first year, I started the catnip indoors and then planted it outside, and I harvested a sandwich bag full of Kitty Herb, leaving several plants to go to seed. Last year was the second year of the catnip, and only a few plants came up, so I only harvested a few sprigs, leaving most to go to seed. So far this year, I see just two little catnip plants sprouting up, and I doubt the harvest will be very plentiful.

The newcomers to the yard this year will be the grape hyacinth I bought to add color to my desk at work. It may end up being friends with the miniature daffodils, or I may plant it under another tree in the front yard.

Oh, and I’m also planning a resurgence of annuals this year — specifically, impatiens, which seemed to thrive well enough in the dry shade under the overhang in front of our split-level house. (Nothing else ever did.) I may see how hostas fare there, too. But nothing will be planted until mid-May, after we return from our vacation. Never again am I leaving new baby plants to the mercy of the elements while I’m out of town. Not even for a long weekend.

I have a large container of lilies of the valley, also from Scott; I had planted them under said overhang when he first gave them to me, but they didn’t do well, so I rescued them and transplanted them. I’ve had them for a few years now, and I keep meaning to bring them inside during the winter… but I forget and leave them out all winter long. Last year, I still had a few left. We’ll see how many I have left this year. Maybe I’ll find an appropriate permanent home for them this year. I have a few ideas.

Someday I’ll have a decently landscaped and colorful yard. Until then, I’ll just see what works.